LRMC PA officer best in USAREUR

Spc. Todd Goodman (Story and photo)
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

***image1***Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs Officer Marie Shaw was recognized as U. S. Army Europe’s top PAO of the year at a ceremony Tuesday at the Patrick Henry Village Officers’ Club in Heidelberg.

The 55-year-old Belgian has been a LRMC staple for 25 years and was surprised to receive the award for the second time.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized again,” said Ms. Shaw. “We have worked so hard. This past year has been non-stop flow of media. It’s been very intense.”

The year included the handling of 27 nationalities of media who came to Landstuhl looking for a story. When the media showed up, it was Ms. Shaw who planned their visit, telling them who they could talk to and what they could see.

“You are always walking on a tight rope,” she said. “Some media outlets come in with expectations and you want to give them what they want, but you have to monitor what they do. You want to make sure the organization is portrayed in the best possible light.”

Ms. Shaw is the only local national serving as a PAO in the Army Medical Department – a fact she takes great pride in. She said being from Belgium aids her in this job. She says she has an unbiased view of both the German and American culture and understands each viewpoint.

The fact that she fluently speaks French, German and English does more than facilitate media requests. She frequently finds herself as a translator between doctors and foreign patients.

Being the top PAO means always being accessible. It means fielding media queries at home while trying to have dinner. It means a late night phone call from a reporter living in California who doesn’t realize a time difference exists. It means doing whatever humanly possible to showcase the good during a bad situation.

“It’s fairly simple,” she said as she began to respond to the 36 new e-mail messages in her inbox. “It takes total involvement and total dedication to the organization you represent.”

“(Ms.) Shaw has had a vital role in the way that the world views this hospital,” said Col. Derick Ziegler, LRMC chief of staff. “She has been a tireless worker, a critical member in this organization and most certainly deserving of this prestigious award. Landstuhl is very fortunate to have her as the PAO. She is without question the premier PAO – period.”